LOWELL — The question of what became of a large bronze plaque on the Quinn-Holmes Bridge has bugged George Koumantzelis for years.
After pursuing a personal investigation into the plaque’s whereabouts for months, he’s now demanding that Lowell officials join him in asking, “Where did the historic piece go?”
The bridge near the VFW Highway rotary — located near Stackpole and Nesmith streets, and sometimes called the Hunts Falls bridge because it overlooks the falls — once housed the plaque, which was likely installed at the time of bridge’s original dedication sometime in the 1950s.
Koumantzelis said he drove through the area every day and looked on as the state Department of Transportation worked to repair it. The 58-year-old Lowell native said he wondered why the large 72-inch-by-30-inch plaque — with names of state leaders at the time, plus a unique design embossed at the top — remained uncovered during construction. He said he regrettably believed crew members would take care of the artifact.
“‘Surely, I mistakenly thought, the state of Massachusetts construction crew will do everything in their power to protect such a historical treasure from being damaged,” he wrote into a 23-page report on the matter, distributed to officials across the city late last month.
Koumantzelis said he was quoted that the lost plaque itself could be worth up to $100,000, though Murphy said the value of the bronze is about $6,000.
Way to be, idiots. The Quinn-Holmes Bridge Plaque went missing a year ago and none of you noticed? Are you serious? Quit texting while driving and start looking around. George Koumantzelis can’t keep his eye on everything. He can’t be all things in all places. Something’s got to give.
PS. My favorite part of this article is as follows: “Koumantzelis said he was distracted by other projects at the time — including his work to save the historic Pow-Wow Oak tree in Belvidere.